Read The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński Online


Originally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Called by the Los Angeles Times "one of the most imposing novels of the decade," it was eventuallly translated into more than thirty languages.A harrowing story that follows the wanderings of a boy abandoned by his parents during World War II, The Painted Bird is a dark maOriginally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Called by the Los Angeles Times "one of the most imposing novels of the decade," it was eventuallly translated into more than thirty languages.A harrowing story that follows the wanderings of a boy abandoned by his parents during World War II, The Painted Bird is a dark masterpiece that examines the proximity of terror and savagery to innocence and love. It is the first, and the most famous, novel by one of the most important and original writers of this century....

Title : The Painted Bird
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780552103237
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 222 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Painted Bird Reviews

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-05-20 18:38

    Reading this one is like opening an oven door and the WHITE HOT BLAST OF HATRED from every page sears your flesh, scars your brain, and when you finish it you cram it shut with relief and throw it quickly into a box marked “Charity” although giving this to anyone would not be any kind of charitable act unless they need something to keep the fire going. What kind of a shitstorm do we have here?For some reason I thought this was the story of a kid caught up in the Holocaust, i.e. a ghetto and concentration camp story. But it isn’t. It’s the story of 7 year old kid (not named) who is sent to the remote Polish countryside by his parents in an attempt to keep him safe. Fat chance of that. The parents appear to have been a little over-optimistic. The kid avoids the Germans, mostly, but he can’t avoid the Poles. For the next five years he hops from one ghastly peasant village to another, being taken in by a series of grotesque caricatures - psychopaths, sadists, rapists the lot of them. Every Polish peasant immediately takes him for a Gypsy and from then on thinks it’s okay – almost compulsory - to inflict the maximum torment their tiny Polish peasant brains can imagine. Did I say Polish peasant? Yes, very specifically : this book is a hymn of hate to the Polish peasant. There’s only a handful of Germans in the whole 285 pages and one of those is quite kindly . What this novel is saying in a SCREECHINGLY LOUD voice is that you couldn’t have found a better place for your Holocaust than Poland – everyone truly madly deeply hated the Jews – and the Gypsies. They really did. They sat around and gleefully told each other that at last the Jews were getting their comeuppance. Historical note : of the 5.8 to 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, 75% came from either Poland or Russia. 90% of all Polish Jews were murdered. ALL of the six extermination camps (as opposed to concentration camps) were in Poland.Cinematic note : Claude Lanzmann says the same thing as Jerzy in his epic documentary “Shoah”.Back to the book. There’s a big problem with it. Actually, there are about ten big problems, but the biggest is credibility. Is all this stuff to be believed? I mean, come on, Jerzy! This phantasmagoria of bestiality, rape, murder, torture, more rape, incest, beating, this unceasing onslaught directed against this small boy? Here’s a few quotes :Without saying a word Garbos used to beat me unexpectedly (p154)I did as I was told but he continued the beatings. (p155)As soon as the priest had left, Garbos took me inside, stripped me and flogged me with a willow switch (p156)Garbos would practice at first casually and then more eagerly new ways of flogging me with a willow cane (p159)…he beat me and kicked me until he was out of breath (p160)I went round in a daze and was beaten for neglecting my work (p160)He thought I was mocking him on purpose and I got an even worse beating (p161)He started to beat me more often (p165)he was beating me harder than usual (p166)Okay, this chapter has more beats per minute than most, but there’s at least one gross outrage inflicted on this kid once every five pages or so, either by adults or by every other kid he encounters. You get the idea that this must have been one aggravating revolting brat of a kid. No one even smiles at him until page 213. You get so you aren’t taking this stuff as seriously as you really know you should be. You catch yourself wincing and saying “Ewwww, that was a good one!” like when Linda Blair's head goes round in The Exorcist.Credibility : I kind of think that fiction should tell the truth, but I also know it’s made up. Hmmm. Serious fiction should tell the truth about humans, because unserious fiction just peddles the lies, myths and distortions we’re all too familiar with. So if you’re writing about Holocaust racism, as Kosinski is, you should make your story credible. I don’t want to be saying hey, ten pages without a rape-murder, I bet there’s one coming up soon – oh, here it is. In this way The painted Bird resembles something like Justine by de Sade – no plot, no characters, just lots of gruesome vignettes strung together. The reader is stultified.Such a sensational novel brought Kosinski a lot of attention, and when you take a look at this guy, he turns out to be very interesting. He was like one of those 19th century “adventurers”, guys with dubious backgrounds who suddenly explode through the social firmament, charming and wowing the glitterati, then being revealed as frauds and charlatans. By subterfuge JK got himself out of communist Poland and within five minutes he’d created this best-seller in his second language. I say "created" because there’s some doubt about whether he actually wrote it. JK let it be understood that TPB might be autobiographical, and most of its first readers and reviewers accepted it as such – right now Amazon quotes the Merriam-Webster Encyclopaedia of Literature : “The ordeals of the central character parallel Kosinski's own experiences during World War II.” But this was exposed in 1996 as a big fat lie when a biographer discovered that Jewish Jerzy and his family lived in Poland together throughout the war protected by all their Polish friends. No brutality, no ghettos for JK. So the best guess might be that JK took most of the stuff in his novel from unidentified Polish-language accounts of survival during the war, then paid translators to help him render the material into English. This isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t the last word in scrupulousness either. Critics have noted that all of JK’s novels are in different styles because he always worked with different translators and editors. (or, it has been whispered, different ghost-writers.) Back in Poland the communists banned it, which is nicely ironic as the adult who rescues the boy, finally, and becomes a father to him, briefly, is a communist and teaches the kid all about the workers’ struggle. But you can see their point – this is an anti-Polish novel – no, an anti-Polish-peasant novel – no, an anti-Polish-peasant-during-WW2 novel – well, definitely one of those. In the end, this novel is a failure. But it's a brave, reckless, dangerous, blazing failure. Cinematic PS : I was watching Reds the other week and was mightily impressed by the actor playing Zinoviev. He had a hell of a face, hell of a haircut and a delivery that made his few scenes the most memorable of the 3 hour movie. And yes, that actor was Jerzy Kosinski. What a geezer!

  • Glenn Russell
    2019-04-28 19:40

    The cover of the Mass Market Paperback edition from the 1970s of The Painted Bird features a small section of Hieronymus Bosch hell-landscape -- dressed in sickly green and wearing a white hood, a creature with a man's body and head of a long-beaked bird walks on crutches carrying a large wicker basket on its back, and in the basket a small black devil with spiky fingers touches the shoulder of a wary young boy as he whispers into the boy's ear. This is an apt cover for Jerzy Kosinski's fictionalized autobiographical novel set in Poland during the reign of Nazi terror in World War 11.I first read this harrowing tale thirty-five years ago. I have read many dark, disturbing novels filled with brutality of every stripe, including such works as Malamud's The Fixer, Dostoyevsky's The House of the Dead, and Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago, but, in my view, perhaps because the narrator is a ten year old boy, no novel has its main character live through a more painful hell than in The Painted Bird.Several months after reading this novel, the author himself made a visit to a large bookstore in Philadelphia for a book-signing, so I had an opportunity to actually meet him - a small man with a thin, high pitched voice and sharp, chiseled fine features, a man who struck me as being both sensitive and friendly. He appreciated my words of thanks and told me, when asked, that he was heading to New Orleans and expected to have some exciting times.Anyway, that was then. Several days ago I saw my local library had a copy of The Painted Bird audio book and immediately checked it out. I started also rereading the printed book as I listened to the audio. The reader, Fred Berman, did his homework - his accent and inflection and manner of speaking is spot-on Jerzy Kosinski.If you are unfamiliar, this story is of an orphan boy with black eyes and sharp nose, labeled gypsy-Jew, forced to wander from village to village, subjected physically to beatings, rape, tortures, as well as murder attempts, while subjected psychologically to being treated as a messenger of the devil and an evil spirit who casts spells with a glance from his black eyes.The boy is so traumatized from unrelenting abuse, he completely losses his capacity to speak for many months. The abuse reaches such a pitch, at one point he reflects on the nature of evil: "I tried to visualize the manner in which the evil spirits operated. The minds and souls of people were as open to these forces as a plowed field, and it was on this field that the Evil Ones incessantly scattered their malignant seed. If their seed sprouted to life, if they felt welcomed, they offered all the help which might be needed, on the condition that it would be used for selfish purposes and only to the detriment of others. From the moment of signing a pact with the Devil, the more harm, misery, injury, and bitterness a man could inflict on those around him, the more help he could expect." Quite the musings from a ten year old! Just goes to show how extreme was his direct experience of the forces of evil.If you are up for an unforgettable experience of terror expressed in the clear, vivid literary language of a fine writer, then you are ready for The Painted Bird.“There's a place beyond words where experience first occurs to which I always want to return. I suspect that whenever I articulate my thoughts or translate my impulses into words, I am betraying the real thoughts and impulses which remain hidden.”― Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird

  • Emily May
    2019-05-21 16:51

    Warning: I talk about a really gross and disturbing scene from the book in this review, please do not read if you're going to be upset and/or offended by talk of graphic sexual violence.This book is one of my dad's favourite books of all time, I don't know how many years he's been telling me to read it now and we've always had similar opinions on books before. But The Painted Bird did not live up to my expectations and the whole idea of it just left a very bad taste in my mouth.Pretty much anyone who's ever had some level of history education will have heard of some of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, no matter how many times you read about human beings burning the children of other human beings and watching people slowly starve to death because of their race, religion or other factors, it is still just as shocking and horrifying. One of the areas sometimes neglected in these accounts of wartime cruelty is the suffering of non-German Jews and it may come as a shock to some to learn that more than 70% of those Jews murdered during Hitler's reign were actually from Poland and Russia. Also, all six extermination camps - as opposed to concentration camps - were located in Poland. [ * ]So when Jerzy Kosinski came stumbling out of communist Poland with a story about a young boy who was sent to the Polish countryside by his parents to hopefully protect him from the horrors going on in that area of Europe during this time, a young boy who moved from remote village to remote village, finding and enduring the worst kind of horrors imaginable along the way, most of Kosinski's readers wrongly assumed that this book was autobiographical. Rather than correcting his audience, Mr Kosinski rode the wave of popularity and did nothing to change these misconceptions. I suppose if someone wanted to give me a million for something I hadn't done I'd probably take the money and run too, so I don't really care that the author wasn't more vocal with the truth of this book. But... what I do think is that the knowledge that this novel is complete fiction - even if this stuff did happen somewhere - turns a potentially moving tale into a gratuitous torturefest.Just to compare this with S. - another fictional book about atrocities committed during war - I'm not saying that people cannot write successful fictional stories set during the holocaust or that it needs to be a memoir to be effective. But, where S. is a deeply moving tale that focuses on the internal effect had by the abuse which the captors inflicted upon their victims, The Painted Bird tells of a series of gruesome acts that vary from extreme beatings, to brutal rape scenes, to a man gouging out another man's eye with a spoon... and you have to ask yourself what he achieved other than making you feel physically ill at times. Pointless, mindless, disgusting scenes of violence that seem to me to be nothing but shock tactics. After a while of reading all these disturbing scenes, you start to feel like you're in a Saw movie, like the author is trying to create scenarios that are each more repulsive than the last just to play with the characters a bit more, make their lives a bit worse. Like raping a woman with a glass bottle and then kicking her abdomen until the glass shatters and she bleeds to death. And I do not mind reading gross scenes of violence as long as I feel it contributes something and isn't just there to keep me wide-eyed long enough that I forget the book isn't very well written and there's been no character development. I find it somewhat insulting to all those people who genuinely suffered during the holocaust that Kosinski would use it in a such an awful, emotionally-manipulative way.I feel like if I'd really wanted to experience violence, torture and rape without being moved in any way, then I could have just watched Game of Thrones. At least that has hot men for me to look at.

  • BlackOxford
    2019-05-02 19:33

    The Real Spoils of WarIn his Being There, Kosinski meditated on the consequences of being socialised entirely through television. The Painted Bird considers how a child might be socialised (if that doesn’t stretch the meaning of the word beyond its limits) to the chaos of war and the morally-deprived society in which it takes place. It’s not pretty.The unnamed protagonist loses contact with his parents at age six, and isn’t reunited with them until after he turns twelve. During their separation, the boy is subject to the cruelty of the peasant society of rural Poland with its superstitious explanations of all natural phenomena, including the boy’s dark hair which makes him anathema as either a Gypsy or a Jew. He is also from time to time subject to equivalent cruelty by the invading German Army, not because he is either a Gypsy or a Jew but because he is an orphan with no obvious productive contribution to military efficiency.After a period of understandable confusion, the boy tries desperately to make sense of his new reality. His first attempts involve treating his situation in terms of some rational standard: if he works hard, keeps his mouth shut, and obeys, he reckons he should be safe. Of course, he isn’t. Cruelty increases without apparent cause or reason.Running away, the boy learns how to survive alone in a forest wilderness. But his isolation makes him vulnerable to capture by either the peasants or the Germans. Without communal protection he becomes doomed to a life of excruciating slavery. He then discovers what he thinks is both community and an explanation of his plight in the Christian religion. Prayer, he believes, is the answer to his suffering. If he can build enough credit with God, he will be delivered from injustice.But pray as he might nothing improves. In fact he is subject to extreme sexual abuse. He concludes not only that there is inherent, possibly irresistible evil in the world but that the odds apparently favour those who side decisively with the Demon who embodies evil. This Manichaean turn may be distasteful but it appears the only way to achieve justice for his tormentors. Captured by evil, he becomes mute.His next epiphany occurs with the defeat of the Germans by the Soviets. He is taken in, cared for, and politically indoctrinated by soldiers of the Red Army. He sees what Power is meant to be: protection of the weaker by the stronger. The fact that the reader may know of a dissonance between theory and practice in Soviet society is irrelevant to the boy’s experience. He perceives this new form of power as salvation.But salvation is only temporary. Placed in an orphanage with all the other mutilated and mentally damaged children of war, new skills of survival are required. Justice, in particular, cannot be left to social institutions, but must be seen to personally and proportionately to the offences involved. He becomes a street kid, a child of the night, a friend to low lifes and misfits. And he is comfortable.Until his parents appear. Suffering a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, the boy considers his estranged parents as an inconvenient constraint on his freedom and potential. His fantasies and grandiose dreams of success are threatened by parental supervision. His peace is shattered by the existence of an annoying younger step-brother. He is fundamentally unfit for family life.The rediscovery of his voice on the ski slopes of Switzerland is a rather ambiguous conclusion that the boy doesn’t comment upon. It’s unclear whether Kosinski is suggesting some sort of post-traumatic recovery or merely an explanation for how the first-person story is told at all. It is nevertheless clear that his life will never be normal in any sense of the word.PostscriptThis article appeared in my 'feed' several days after I finished reading Kosinski. It is a re-interpretation of the Book of Job that is remarkably congruent with the thrust of Kosinski's narrative.

  • Bookcase Jim
    2019-05-16 20:25

    After reading some of the reviews on here, I'm hoping that this will bring some sanity to the steaming heaps of hyperbole. Comparisons to the Saw films, torture porn, and complaints that the violence was simply all too gratuitous are the backbone of reviews that completely miss the point and should be dismissed out of hand. "The purpose of a picaresque narrative is to present to the reader a picture of society and societal involvement that one would otherwise rather ignore, not all truths being pleasant ones." - Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird and the Picaresque Tradition, Joseph V. Ricapito, in Neohelicon (1977) I strongly recommend reading the book from the very beginning; Start by reading Jerzy Kosinski's foreword. He discusses its reception, some of his motives for writing it, and the background to the story. He explains that this is fiction, he also explains, as he does in the pages of the novel, the phenomenon/tradition of a painted bird. This is the key motif to the story. Missing the significance here is missing the point entirely. As I mentioned above, most reviewers of this novel read it without even understanding it. He also says it was not an autobiographical account, so again, I don't see why reviewers on here have to bring up the controversy surrounding 'facts' in his fictional novel. That being said, Kosinski also mentions that, amidst the overwhelming criticism from his native Poland, where it was banned, some of the book's supporters were critical of his 'watered down' depiction of events, given that many occurrences that took place in Europe during the war were much more dramatic and cruel than those described in The Painted Bird. I tend to believe this; art imitates life, not the other way around. The novel follows a young city boy who is sent out to the countryside to stay away from the war. Unfortunately his parents didn't realize that the countryside is rife with primitive, illiterate peasants. Or maybe they did, but figured they are a better alternative to the invading Nazis. The trouble with this little boy is that he's got a darker complexion than the fair skinned, blond haired natives of the villages. Wherever he goes, he is immediately branded as the worst thing to be; a gypsy, or Jew (or both). In either case, the superstitious villagers despise and fear him (for his supposed evil powers). And then bad things happen to him.At one time in that part of the world, probably for entertainment, people would sometimes capture a bird and paint vivid colours over its feathers. They would then release the bird who flew straight back to its own. The flock, confused by the stranger's appearance, would begin to attack the painted bird and eventually kill it, not recognizing it as one of their own. The painted bird, in turn, would likely not understand why its feathery friends were trying to kill it. The allegory Kosinski makes is very simple in my eyes. The boy, a living, breathing human being, is not recognized as one of their own by confused and uneducated peasants. Each beating and humiliating act that he endures is a violent peck against his outward appearance. Simple. The novel is called The Painted Bird. Does anyone really believe it's just a quirky title related to the tradition of painting a bird's feathers?Then there were some things that just somehow made it difficult to take seriously. It often reads like a grocery list of superstitions and neo-pagan beliefs. Recipes for simple ailments that involve ground bones, horse teeth, and various secretions. I found the description of these potions more disgusting than the violence for the most part. The superstitions were everywhere though:- The belief that gypsies have the power to kill by looking in one's eyes. - The need to spit three time in any gypsies' direction to counter the 'death-look'. - Hiding/covering one's teeth when smiling in case a gypsy might count them (and take that amount of years off your life). - The myriad of demons and spirits who roam the forests and the fields. - The rope of a suicidee that's meant to bring good luck. These, and many many more, became fact by the end of book. They certainly became fact for our anti-hero who himself came to believe the very same things. Kosinsky also describes some situations that read as if straight out of Borat. The Polish peasant is made to look stupider and more ignorant than any other being on the planet. From this point of view, I'm not surprised it was banned in commie Poland. Finally, I'm going to add a personal note. I grew up in a place where corporal punishment was still doled out at school. I had strangers who were very mean to me as kid, when I was the same age as Kosinsky's 'painted bird'. I had my hair and ears pulled undeservedly by adults. I went to school with kids who'd clearly been badly beaten at home. I had the back of my hands smacked by the teacher's ruler. I was slapped by a doctor once for crying. In my eyes, adults were large creatures to be feared. They loved to scare and hurt kids. They were mean, cruel people. And this was in the 80s, in a city, and I didn't look different from anybody else. Yes it’s unbelievable that one child could suffer so much to our coddled Western minds, but to think that a child at the mercy of a bunch of uneducated, backwater type, Eastern European rednecks, during the blood orgy that was the Second World War, would not have to endure much much worse is naive. I too believe that given the setting and circumstances, Kosinski offers a watered-down narrative. I can't give this five stars because I think Kosinski could've gone further with the material and subject matter at hand. Both from the perspective of the narrative and from a literary point of view. It was, at times, too two-dimensional, and I breezed right through it. Although that's the point of the picaresque novel it's hard not to ask for more. I enjoyed it for the historical context very much, and for an accurate reflection of our human condition. Maybe I just wish he'd shown it as a painting instead of a caricature.

  • Nickolas the Kid
    2019-04-25 18:43

    Ένα αρκετά περίεργο και σκληρό βιβλίο είναι το “To Βαμμένο Πουλί»… Ο συγγραφέας περιγράφει το αιματοβαμμένο οδοιπορικό ενός μικρού Τσιγγάνου/Εβραίου στα χωριά της Πολωνίας κατά την διάρκεια του ΒΠΠ. Το παράδοξο με αυτό το βιβλίο είναι ότι περιγράφει την σκληρότητα και την απανθρωπιά, μέσα από τα μάτια ένος μικρού αγοριού, όχι του πολέμου, αλλά των ανθρώπων που τον βιώνουν ως τραγικοί κομπάρσοι… Ο μικρός ήρωας γυρνάει από χωριό σε χωρίο και διαπιστώνει πως το να είναι κανείς διαφορετικός σε χρώμα ή εθνικότητα είναι κάτι σαν κατάρα… Θα συναντήσει διάφορους χαρακτήρες που θα επιβεβαιώσουν αυτές του τις σκέψεις… Μάγισσες, φυσιοδίφες, παιδόφιλους, αιμομίκτες, κτηνοβάτες, βιαστές και πολεμοχαρείς σαδιστές. Ο Κοζίνσκι σοκάρει με τις περιγραφές του και προσπαθεί να θυμίσει πως ο άνθρωπος κάτω από τις κατάλληλες συνθήκες μετατρέπεται σε αγρίμι. Βέβαια σε αρκετά σημεία είναι υπερβολικός και ξεφεύγει. Αυτός είναι νομίζω και ο κύριος λόγος που το βιβλίο αυτό ήταν, είναι και θα είναι αρκετά αμφιλεγόμενο…Ο συγγραφέας παρουσιάζει τους κάτοικους της Πολωνίας σκληρούς, ανώμαλους, γεμάτους δεισιδαιμονίες έτσι ώστε όταν φτάσει ο Κόκκινος Στρατός να του είναι πιο εύκολο να τον αγιοποιήσει/ηρωοποιήσει καθώς και να πλέξει (ελαφρώς) το εγκώμιο του «Πατερούλη» Στάλιν… Οι στρατιώτες της ΕΣΣΔ παρουσιάζονται ως καλόκαρδοι, θαρραλέοι και προπαντός μεγαλόψυχοι, σε σημείο που ο μικρός θα μπορούσε για αυτούς τους ανθρώπους να απαρνηθεί και τους γονείς του… Εν τέλει το βιβλίο μου άρεσε γιατί η γραφή του Κοζίνσκι είναι απλή και κατανοητή, γιατί η άγρια πλευρά του ανθρώπου έχει ιδιαίτερο ενδιαφέρον όταν την περιγράφει ένα παιδί αλλά δεν μπορώ παραβλέψω τις πάρα πολλές υπερβολές και την "φιλορωσική" κατάληξη της ιστορίας…Οπότε 3/5 από μένα…

  • Bülent Özgün
    2019-05-05 19:25

    Kosiński, kitabın sonundaki yazısında şöyle diyor:Belki de Boyalı Kuş'un içindeki vahşet sahnelerinin abartılmadığının en iyi kanıtı ve bu dehşet zamanının savaş yılları Doğu Avrupa'sını yansıttığını en iyi anlatan olay, eski okulumdan bazı arkadaşlarımın Boyalı Kuş'un kaçak bazı kopyalarını okuduktan sonra romanın kendilerinin ve akrabalarının yaşadıklarının yanında pastoral bir öykü gibi kalacağını söylemeleriydi.Kosiński'nin hem 2. Dünya Savaşı sırasında hem de kitap yayınlandıktan sonra yaşadıkları romanın kendisi kadar dehşet verici.Yani bu kitabın her zerresi, her satırı acı ve dehşet dolu.Ben susayım, okumaktan başka çareniz kalmasın.

  • Jonfaith
    2019-05-03 22:50

    The officer surveyed me sharply. I felt like a squashed caterpillar oozing in the dust, a creature that could not harm anyone yet aroused loathing and disgust. In the presence of such a resplendent being, armed in all the symbols of might and majesty, I was genuinely ashamed of my appearance. I had nothing against his killing me.Much as Nietzsche detonated a shaped charge and blew away all hope of a totalizing meta-narrative, it was books like The Painted Bird which left me ashamed, almost permanently. I don't harbor much hope of a recovery. Kosiński left us a catalog of horror. Hope and Justice appear cheaply broacaded within. I still think about the phone ringing at the end of the novel.

  • Chrissie
    2019-05-17 14:50

    Human depravity in the extreme - this book in a nutshell.Before you pick up this book, think twice. The author originally said it was autobiographical. It is now classified as fiction. IF it were autobiographical it would be easier to swallow; you'd think that is just plain what happened. The book is incredibly difficult to read. It is surreal in tone, filled with graphic sexuality and violence. What is delivered is man at his worst told in such a way as to make the reader cringe. To what purpose? Published in 1965, was there then a need to exalt in the horrors of the war?The author was also accused of plagiarism. If you want more information, search at Wiki by the title of the book and the author's name. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Fred Berman. The narration was fine. There is an author's afterword read by Michael Aronov.

  • Keely
    2019-05-22 21:47

    On deciding for the title of this novel, writer Jerzy Kosinki was inspired by the symbolic use of birds in literature which "allowed certain people to deal with actual events and characters without the restrictions which the writing of history imposes". He states that there was a certain peasant custom he witnessed as a child before in which he describes it as follows:"One of the villagers' favorite entertainment was trapping birds, painting their feathers, and then releasing them in the air to rejoin their flock. As these brightly colored creatures sought the safety of their fellows, the other birds, seeing them as threatening aliens, attacked and tore at the outcasts until they killed them." Due to the controversial nature and content of this book, I was surprised that I even stumbled upon a copy about a year ago while once again casually flipping through the general section of a bookstore. I've only known about the book months prior to acquiring it, and I was so excited to start reading it on a scheduled time. Some months later, I did just that and for two days I was immersed in witnessing the ugliest and most vile horrors I have ever read in fiction that were loosely based from real-life accounts of people who lived through the second World War. There was nothing about this book I enjoyed, to be honest. It was psychologically painful and slightly numbing to peruse through, especially with each chapter dealing with deprived deviant acts of the social and sexual kind. That being said, this is a spectacular novel that examines the darker and sickening aspects of human nature, and it was successful in its depiction because I don't think any decent person would enjoy the varying degrees of cruelty and degradation that Kosinski have shared in The Painted Bird.The Painted Bird follows the travels of a six-year-old Jewish boy in Central Europe, and whose parents have sent him away in beliefs that he would fare better away from the heart of the warfare and Nazism at the time. What happens mainly instead over the course of the book is that the boy was forced to grow up very quickly, robbed of another option, as he stays in one village after another, more often discriminated against, beaten up and rarely cared for. As a book that deals with the Holocaust, Kosinski managed to stay away from events surrounding the actual prison or labor camps where the Jews were gassed or incinerated. We all know that's where the real horror lies but Kosinski challenged this idea and revealed to us that in times of warfare, even the most modest of places such as rural villages can be sources of the most potent evil human beings are capable of. This book delved deeply on the shocking ways that antisemitic sentiment, religious persecution and barbaric superstitions could turn people into hateful creatures; that even the simple folk back then can and will ruefully participate in terrible acts, often justifying their malicious intentions as divine interventions, against the boy himself, and any Jewish or Gypsy person of the same ilk who would pass their way. I don't think it's worth specifying these truly disgusting and abhorrent events here in my review, mostly because I'm still sick to my stomach just thinking about them. Even the subtlest ways of these people when it comes to their maltreatment of the boy just because he has black hair and dark eyes (and therefore an abomination to God) were chilling in retrospect. So, yes, I did not enjoy reading this book but I was fully hypnotized into trudging along each chapter anyway.I could then claim that this was a great exercise on moral conscience and inherent human compassion on the end of the readers such as myself who have developed a certain keen sense of cynicism over the years regarding the world at large. I am not shocked easily by gory details but I have to admit that this book made me feel bad every time I try to insert some humor in my initial thoughts in Goodreads for the reading updates while reading. It doesn't feel like a subject to be made light of, personally, but it was also the only way I can endure reading the chapters--I had to find some sort of morbid amusement and detachment just so I don't get thoroughly disheartened. What was so moving about this novel, however, was the main character of the boy who remains unnamed throughout, but whose iron will and resilient youth had made it possible for him to come out on the other side alive, though fragmented and forever changed. Children are tougher than we give them credit for, and I was comforted with the fact that he was resourceful in adapting to multiple situations where his own life and innocence are fully at stake. This book features tons of examples of mob mentality (the likes of which are awfully symbolized by the painted-birds analogy Kosinski has utilized), as well as separate incidents of incest and bestiality, and a rather disconcerting abundance of gang rapes at the later part of the book where a whole chapter is devoted describing the entire thing in painstakingly gross detail. This is not a book meant for enjoyment so if you happen to decide you want to read it, please remember what I just said in this review.The Painted Bird also operates on the wisdom that there are no happy lives, just happy moments, and about fifty pages near the end, the readers are allowed to view snapshots of the boy's life in the aftermath of the fall of the Third Reich and though there was nothing immediately uplifting about it, it's the best happy ending he could make out of from the traumatic experiences that have shaped him, and malformed him somehow. Personally, I didn't expect that there's going to be a healing message by the end of this tragic tale anyway. I think the ambiguity of the resolution for The Painted Bird accomplishes what it was set out to do in the first place: to remind readers that the darkness hovering in our lives is real and it could seep through the cracks, whether or not we allow it. But the real test of courage and spiritual enlightenment is on how we cope and deal with the poison that corrodes our systems, and I would like to believe against hope that we can rise above our own base impulses towards hatred, ignorance and persecution. There is corruption and sickness in the world, yes, but we all should strive to be the balm on its infected pores. The Painted Bird, after showing me so much inhumane and malicious acts that people do to each other, has also reminded me of my humanity and the blessings and burdens of ensuring I don't give in to the call of moral decay and disintegration of values, no matter how easy (and even remotely tempting) it is to act like lesser beings.RECOMMENDED: 9/10DO READ MY REVIEWS AT

  • Carmo
    2019-05-05 20:35

    Quando Hitler invade a Polónia e começa a selecionar população para os campos de concentração, um casal tenta salvar o filho deixando-o com uma idosa numa aldeia miserável no meio da floresta.A porta de fuga tornou-se a porta de entrada num mundo de horror tão cruel quanto os guetos nazis.Quando a mulher morre num incêndio, ele parte sozinho e aqui começa a saga de perseguição e fuga, deambulando de aldeia em aldeia por entre a floresta, procurando abrigo e, sobretudo, aceitação e algum carinho.Em todas é apontado como cigano ou judeu. Ameaçado de ser entregue aos alemães é sujeito a crueldades inimagináveis por camponeses cuja ignorância roça a selvajaria .Extremamente supersticiosos, são gente de pouca humanidade capazes de praticar todos os desvios, por mais chocantes que sejam.Mestre da descrição, J. Kosinski revela-nos uma história macabra através duma escrita mágica . Leva-nos por caminhos de dor e abandono, fere-nos com actos de repugnante sadismo tão sensoriais que tornam a leitura extremamente penosa.No entanto, há passagens de grande beleza. Por serem descritas pela voz de uma criança; voz da inocência e da pureza, provocam-nos um sorriso pela ingenuidade pueril.Só os mais fortes e astutos resistem, mas o preço a pagar é elevado. A cada novo embate, esta criança cresce da pior maneira e perde um pouco da sua humanidade, tornando-se um ser cada vez mais semelhante aos seus carrascos, desapegado e preocupado apenas com a sua própria sobrevivência.Quem lê este livro não consegue ficar indiferente e não o esquece nunca mais.Não consigo dar-lhe as 5* que merece, talvez um dia volte aqui e altere a classificação ...Para já, a ferida ainda está fresca...

  • Lisa Vegan
    2019-05-20 20:47

    I read an earlier edition than this. I’ve read many, many holocaust era books and I’d already read quite a few when I read this one. And this says a lot, but this one might be the most horrifying one of them all. This was one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read and yet I loved the book. I read it thinking it was non-fiction; years after I read it, I read that it was fiction, but that doesn’t diminish at all the impact I feel from reading it. It’s truly amazing what people can do to each other and also what people will go through in order to survive. Do recommend it but only for those with their own courage to plough through such a horrific tale.

  • Kim
    2019-05-11 17:51

    This review is serving as a spiritual tug of war. The Battle of the Conscious. I really don’t know what to think. I hesitate between 2 and 3 stars and Yeah, I know… I’m a heartless bitch. The guilt tells me to rate it higher because of all the persecution and just plain ol’ Horrors that this kid dealt with. As if I’ve lost some humanity if I don’t appreciate this more. But… another part of me is just not feeling it. It sort of feels like rubbernecking. Like, it starts off right away with exploding pet squirrels and just gets more and more unbelievable as you go. I’m not saying that this stuff couldn’t have happened (well, maybe I am, but not to ONE person...)and I am well aware that as a French Canadian child born in 1970’s New England I would have NO BASIS on which to judge the monstrosities that this un-named child endured. But, it’s not really real, you know? No? Okay, then I’m colder than I thought. I can’t get past the fact that this kid really isn’t ever given a break… We go through about 200 pages of beatings and rapes and mutilations and near deaths and you (me) start to roll your eyes and think that Charlie Brown could take some life lessons from this little gypsy boy. I felt guilty! I shouldn’t be exasperated by this! I should be appalled! I should be weeping and thanking unknown deities that my lame childhood was all about having to walk to McDonalds and clean the pool. But, what did I do? I started skimming. Blah-Blah-beating-Blah-Blah-hanging from a hook to avoid certain death from vicious dog-blah blah-skinning a live rabbit-blah blah-thrown in a dung heap---Blah Blah---you get the picture. The only thread of compassion that I hold onto is that I didn’t feel this way when I read Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl or Night. I’m not a monster. (Right?) Maybe it was the writing style, the dispassionate, removed, telling of these events. Then interspersed with these flowing images of painted birds and sexual awakenings (rape or not.) It was difficult to juxtapose between these styles and stay in the moment. My breath would catch at a particularly moving passage like:I had seen the end of terror that shakes one until it squeezes the stomach empty of vomit, like a punctured poppy pod blown open by the wind.Then move a few paragraphs to:I began to practice walking. My legs did not obey me and I tired easily. One night I heard noises outside. I peered through a slot between the boards. You lose the rhythm, the fantasy, and hit the mundane again. My addled brain couldn’t handle it. I read that Kosinski may have gone all James Frey with this and ‘embellished’ the tale but from what I’ve read, he never really said it wasn’t fiction, right? I mean, others fought to find meaning and truth behind the tale. Then there’s the controversy surrounding plagiarism and then all those health issues he had… Poor guy, no wonder he committed suicide. (See? Compassion!)So, I’m glad that I read this. I have Being There and I’ve been wanting to read that for awhile… not realizing it was the same author. Only now, I’m not so excited. And that’s sad.

  • Yuri Kruman
    2019-04-27 15:27

    Let fools argue about Kosiński's biography and "authenticity" of experience. His supreme ability to tell a child's horrific coming-of-age story in rural Nazi-controlled Poland, where the peasants are just as gruesomely sadistic, with adult credibility and moral authority without overreaching or sentimentality, is a dark and bittersweet triumph of humanity and then also of literature. IMHO, the book was not written as an invective against Polish peasants or Nazis alone, any more than it is solely an indictment of human nature in wartime. Kosiński's scalpel cut too deep to the marrow to stop at Mitka-style revenge. His truth lies deeper than in paranoia and suspicion of man; it exposes the harrowing duality of man's nature, sharpened to extremes in wartime - by turns cruel and tender, superstitious and rational, vengeful and forgiving, brutal and sophisticated. The Painted Bird is the strongest, most harrowing novel I've ever read and it will stay with me for life, both as a Jew, human being and as a writer. It is an incredibly difficult and important book, and the fact of the controversy surrounding it and the author only heightens its effect.

  • KamRun
    2019-05-15 17:51

    اگر حقیقت داشت که زنها و بچه‌ها جزیی از دارایی اشتراکی خواهند بود، پس هر کودکی پدر و مادرهای زیاد و تعداد بی‌شماری خواهر و برادر خواهد داشت. چنین چیزی بیش از آن حد بود که انسان بدان چشم بدوزد: تعلق داشتن به همه! قرار بود هرکجا که می‌روم پدرهای فراوان با دست‌های قوی و اطمینان‌بخش سرم را نوازش کنند و مادرهای بی‌شماری مرا در آغوش بکشند و برادران بزرگ بی‌شمار از من در مقابل دندان سگ‌ها دفاع کنندپرواز را بخاطر بسپار داستان تیره‌روزی‌های قربنانیان همیشه‌ی جهالت و تعصب و جنگ است: کودکان. راوی داستان کودک شش، هفت ساله‌ای است که در خلال جنگ جهانی دوم و برنامه‌ی پاکسازی نژادی نازی‌ها، بخاطر نژاد و رنگ پوست آواره‌ی روستاها می‌شود. از روستایی به روستایی دیگر، از خانه‌ای به خانه‌ای دیگر، از خانواده‌ای به خانواده‌ای دیگر، از مرد شیطان به مرد خدا و از دامان کلیسا به آغوش کمونیسم. کودک بی‌نام داستان گرسنگی‌ها، آزارها و تحقیرها شکنجه‌های بسیار را تحمل می‌کند تا سرانجام توسط سربازان ارتش سرخ رهایی می‌یابد. کودکی و معصومیت راوی مرحله به مرحله لگدمال می‌شود تا در انتهای داستان با کودک/سربازی روبرو می‌شویم که ستاره‌ای بر سینه و نشانی بر بازو دارد. در خلال این روایت است که نویسنده با مهارت تمام، خرافات و جهلی که مردم به آن دچارند را طوری به تصویر می‌کشد که مو بر اندام خواننده راست شده و تمام وجودش مالامال انزجاری بی‌پایان می‌شود. جنگ و تبعات مستقیم آن فقط بخش اندکی از پایان داستان را بخود اختصاص داده و بیشتر حجم داستان به بیان حال و هوای اروپای جهل زده و تبعات تثلیث فاشیسم-خرافات-کلیسا می‌گذردنویسنده در به تصویر کشیدن جهل و انحطاط اخلاقی جامعه و ارتباط آن با دیکتاتوری، که هر دو بنیان یکدیگر را تقویت می‌کنند بسیار موفق عمل کرده و این در کنار بیان مفاهیم والای انسانی بزرگترین نقطه قوت کتاب است. من فصل 11 و 12 کتاب را یکی از کلیدی‌ترین و برجسته ترین‌ بخش‌های این داستان می‌دانم، جایگاه کودک در تقابل میان کلیسا و شیطان. کودک در فصل 11 برای در امان ماندن از شکنجه‌ها و آزارهای جسمی به کلیسا و خواندن دعاهای رحمت رو می‌آوردناگهان الگوی حاکم بر دنیا با بداهتی زیبا در برابرم آشکا شد. فهمیدم که چرا بعضی قوی هستند و بعضی ضعیف، بعضی آزادند و بعضی در بند، بعضی ثروتمندند و بعضی فقیر. به آسانی می‌توان گفت دسته‌ی اول لزوم دعا خواندن و لزوم جمعآوری حداکثری روزهای مغفرت را درک کرده بودند. در جایی آن بالابالاها، همه‌ی دعاهایی که از زمین می‌رسید با دقت طبقه‌بندی می‌شد. طوری که هرکسی توشه‌دان مخصوص خودش را داست که روزهای رحمت الهی خود را در آن انبار می‌کرد. حالا آنچه را که لازم بود داشتم و از دانستن اینکه روزهای تنبیه و حقارت بزودی سپری خواهد شد، بر خود می‌بالیدم. تا آن زمان ساس کوچکی بودم که هرکسی می‌توانست لهش کند ولی از آن پس ساس حقیر تبدیل به گاوی می‌شد که کسی نمی‌توانست به آن نزدیک شوداما پاسخ این دعاها درد و کتک خوردن بیشتر است. کلیسایی که خود واعظ خوشابحال‌هاست و روزی خانه‌ی ضعیفان خوانده می‌شد، امروز خود عامل شکنجه و درد است. کودک از کلیسا فرار می‌کند و در آغاز فصل 12 به نزد خانواده‌ای می‌رود که تمام دهکده آنان را به سبب روابط جنسی با یکدیگر شیطانی می‌دانند. نصیب کودک در اینجا هم چیزی جز شکنجه و درد نیست، ولی تصور می‌کنم مقصود نویسنده از قرار دادن این دو فصل در توالی یکدیگر، خواسته دو روی یک سکه را به نمایش بگذارددر جایی بالای ابرها، خداوند همه چیز را هدایت می‌کرد. حالا می‌فهمیدم که به چه دلیل او به زحمت می‌تواند وقت خود را صرف ساس کوچک سیاهی مانند من بکند. او ارتش‌های بزرگ، مردان، حیوانات و ماشین‌های بی‌شماری داشت که تحت فرماندهی او می‌جنگیدند. باید تصمیم می‌گرفت که چه کسی برنده است و چه کسی بازنده، چه کسی باید زنده بماند و چه کسی باید بمیرد. ولی اگر در حقیقت این خداوند بود که تصمیم می‌گرفت که چه اتفاقی باید بیفتد پس چرا دهاتی‌ها نگران دین و ایمان و کلیسا و کشیش‌هایشان بودند؟ اگر شوروی قصد داشت کلیساها را منهدم کند و کشیش‌ها را بکشد، خداوند نمی‌توانست چنین تهدیدی را بر امت خود نادیده بگیرد. ولی آلمان‌ها نیز که کلیساها را ویران می‌کردند و مردم را می‌کشتند در پایان فاتح نخواهند بود. از دیدگاه خداوند عاقلانه‌تر این خواهد بود که همه در جنگ شکست بخورند، چرا که همه مرتکب قتل می‌شدنداما مطالب فوق و اقبال عمومی به این کتاب در زمان انتشار، نباید باعث نادیده گرفته شدن نقاط ضعف داستان شود. نخست آنکه ورود کاراکترهای فرعی در ابتدای هر فصل و خروج آن‌ها در انتها که مکررا اتفاق می‌افتد و تبدیل به شیوه روتین پیشبرد داستان و ضعف شدید شخصیت‌پردازی می‌شود. اتفاقات عجیب و غریب هر فصل که در نهایت به حادثه‌ای شوم (عموما مرگ) برای میزبان و فرار کودک منجر می‌شود ضعف دیگر داستان است. داستان در فصل‌های پایانی بعلت توضیحات بیش از اندازه‌ کاراکتر میتکا درباره‌ی استالین و کمونیسم کمی خسته کننده ‌می‌شود. نکته‌ی دیگر، عدم هم‌خوانی شیوه‌ی روایت با سن راوی‌ست که از حال و هوای کودکانه و ذهن و ادبیات کودک فاصله‌ی زیادی دارد که البته این موضوع با این توجیه راوی در بزرگسالی به گذشته و بازخوانی خاطراتش پرداخته قابل اغماض است، اما از تحلیل‌های ذره‌بینی راوی بخصوص در انتهای داستان دیگر نمی‌توان چشم‌پوشی کرددر ابتدا گفتم وجود انسان با خواندن داستان مملو از انزجار می‌شود، اما انزجار از چه؟ هیتلر؟ نازی‌ها؟ جنگ؟ نباید آدرس اشتباه داد. هیتلر تنها یک‌نفر بود، اما نقش دیگران چه بود؟ میلیون‌ها سربازی که او را همراهی می‌کردند چه؟ صدها شکنجه‌گری که بعدها در دادگاه و در توجیه جرم خود "تبعیت از دستور مافوق" را بیان کردند چطور؟ پزشکانی که دست به آزمایش‌های باورنکردنی و مهوع بر روی انسان‌ها - مرد، زن و کودک - انجام دادند چطور؟ غیرنظامیانی که با انسان‌های دیگر چون حیوان رفتار کردند چطور؟ بیش از شصت سال از زمان فروپاشی نازیسم و بمباران اتمی هیروشیما و کشتار و تجاوز ارتش سرخ گذشته است، سبعیت انسانی را اما پایانی نیست و حالا خوش‌باورترین انسان‌ها هم منشا شر را درجایی دیگر جستجو می‌کنند: در درون نهاد آدمی، جایی که هریک جلادی خواب و بیدار را پنهان کرده‌ایمپی‌نوشت: (view spoiler)[با دیدگاه کازینسکی در باب سواستفاده‌ی کلیسا از حاکمیت خدا تا حد زیادی موافق هستم، پدیده‌ای که ما نیز در جامعه‌ی امروز در مقیاس وسیعی با آن روبرو هستیم. متاله آلمانی، دیتریش بونهافر در رسالات خود به تفصیل به این موضوع پرداخته است که علاقه‌مندان به این مبحث را به رسالات الهیاتی و تاملات اخلاقی ایشان ارجاع می‌دهم (hide spoiler)]

  • Bloody Mary
    2019-04-27 16:33

    Ο συγγραφέας έγραψε ότι η δυτική κριτική αντιμετώπισε με αμηχανία αυτό το βιβλίο του. Κι εγώ δεν θα αποτελέσω εξαίρεση. Από το να δώσω αμήχανα και μουδιασμένα δυτικά αστεράκια, θα προτιμήσω να μην το βαθμολογήσω καν. Πρόκειται για ένα θεοσκότεινο βιβλίο. Έχει τόση ωμή βία που το game of thrones και το κουρδιστό πορτοκάλι μοιάζουν παραμυθάκια μπροστά του, τόση σεξουαλική διαστροφή που θα ζήλευε και το nip tuck και τόσες αναφερόμενες δεισιδαιμονίες και προκαταλήψεις που η Hannah Kent δεν θα έβλεπε ούτε στα πιο τρελά της όνειρα! Δεν είναι όμως αυτά που με ξίνισαν τόσο, όσο το ότι όλα αυτά τα βλέπουμε ως βιώματα ενός παιδιού, που άλλοτε είναι θύτης και άλλοτε θύμα, και τα βάσανα αυτού του παιδιού τελειωμό δεν έχουν ακόμη και μετά το τέλος του πολέμου. Όχι ότι στον πόλεμο δεν συνέβησαν και χειρότερα πράγματα και σίγουρα η βία γεννά βία, που γεννά βία κ.ο.κ , αλλά κάπου εκεί χάνεται το μέτρο. Δεν ξέρω ειλικρινά αν αυτό είναι ένα βιβλίο για τα ανείπωτα του πολέμου που τελικά ειπώθηκαν ή αν είναι ένα βιβλίο για την επιβίωση και το ρατσισμό. Προσωπικά έχω την αίσθηση ότι είναι ένα βιβλίο για τη μοναξιά, για τη μοναξιά στον καθημερινό αγώνα επιβίωσης όχι μόνο σε καιρό πραγματικού πολέμου αλλά και στον πόλεμο που συνεχίζεται εκεί έξω στην κοινωνία. Και αλίμονο βέβαια αν είσαι ένα ''βαμμένο πουλί''. Πάντως παρά το άβολο θέμα του βιβλίο και τη σκληρότητα με την οποία αυτό περιγράφεται, είναι σίγουρα μια μεγάλη αφήγηση και ορθώς οι εκδόσεις Μεταίχμιο το έχουν συμπεριλάβει στην ομώνυμη σειρά.

  • The Crimson Fucker
    2019-04-29 20:30

    The first rock thrown againWelcome to hell, little SaintMother Gaia in slaughterWelcome to paradise, SoldierIs all BS! All of it! We a failure as a society, as a species, as individuals! We suck! There’s no way in hell anybody can convince me other wise! You know why? Cuz like millions of years ago some sort of ameba divided itself in 2... You know what the first thing it did when It separated itself? It attacked the other weaker part… and that’s what we been doing for fucking millions of years now! One its born and life fuck you in the butt! That’s it! Some people may call me emotionally damaged because I laugh at others demise… what they fail to noticed is that when I’m laughing is because that person had a hell lot of chances to avoid all the shit that befall him/her! As somebody said… “a fool deserves all the foolery that befalls him” or something like that! Anyway, that’s how I see it! But this poor kid broke my heart today! Damn man! This poor little kid was just walking around and shit went down on him and only him! There was nothing he could do to avoid it! He was just there walking minding his own busyness and BANG! It felt like the whole universe decided to defecate on that poor kid! Superstitious crazy old ladies hitting him (x), getting molested by crazy nympho (x), being chased by fucking Nazis (x), people telling him he has a demon inside of him and making him feel horrible for being “different” (x), being molested by some crazy chick and falling in love with her just to later watch her getting freaky with her father, brother and a goat (mother fucking check!), watching some crazy cock blocker bitches put a glass bottle inside the local nympho’s vagina and then kicking her to death (again holy fuck, check!), that’s pretty much all I’ve seen so far! I’am finish reading it tomorrow… I’m pretty hard to impress and easy to amuse… I mean I’m a sick fuck! But god damn! I’m impressed! And shock! And disgusted! And depressed!

  • Kathryn
    2019-05-09 17:26

    The night before last, I fell asleep holding my laptop, while on the couch. I could have sworn I had saved my work, which just so happened to be a review for this book, but upon logging onto Goodreads today I noticed that I did not have a review for The Painted Bird. Every time I am certain I have everything planned out in terms of writing and posting reviews, I do something stupid, such as falling asleep with my computer. Sadly, falling asleep while contemplating and discussing a book does not bode well for my opinion of the book but before you read any further, I by no means wish to discourage anyone from picking up this one of a kind novel.I was bored at times, becoming lost in the extreme violence, graphic descriptions of torture and sexual acts, and in what semblence of story progression that existed. I also experienced huge problems connecting with the main character, a six-year-old boy. I have a six-year-old boy, so I like to think I have a basic understanding of the average developmental stage for the age, which not mesh with this book. I found it difficult to imagine the main character in such a setting and that the majority of the people he met were only interested in hurting him. This novel is not about a bad case of indifference, as is most often found in books about World War II and the Holocaust. This book is about hate and sadism, about evil born out of poverty and ignorance. Maybe this reflects more about me than the book, but I find it impossible to believe that the main character could encounter so much active and persistent evil. Maybe if the book had followed a young man or adult, the story would be more believable, barely. I just have this inclination to believe that people are less likely to harm a child. This book is saying that because he was a child, he was harmed more. His age, naivety, and innocence certainly allowed people increased opportunities to prey upon him but I just can not believe that these qualities encouraged the abuse on the scale found in this story.The Painted Bird was ridiculous, at times, in its extremes. If half of the atrocities had been edited out, then I would have found the story much more compelling and terrifying. Please excuse the horrible pun, but the entire novel felt like overkill. Yet maybe this was the author's intention. Holding back on the amount of evil was not a characteristic of events of this period in history. So maybe I am considering this novel from too much of a literal perspective. The fact that I am unsure of the author's intentions bothers me. I tend to be unconcerned if my interpretation of a book is backwards from the intentions of the author. Once a book is published, the equivalent of releasing the work into the wild, an author must be open to personal interpretation but this book does not really allow for that in my opinion. The story is straightforward and predictable and full of pointless violence, at times. Is the author commenting on the effect of immense abuse? On the will to survive? Xenophobia? Does the author provide any cause and effect? Do we see how the events in this book have shaped the boy? (view spoiler)[We do, slightly, towards the very end. This was not enough for me (hide spoiler)]. I feel a good historical novel should scream the whole bit about those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. This book did no such thing. It more or less screamed abuse!, molestation!, torture!, assault!, murder!, bestiality!, war!,....come and find it within these pages!....on and on and on, rather akin to a circus act. Every physical hurt you can concieve of, with little mention of the mental and emotional backlash. I guess the reader is meant to understand that the inner emotional pain exists, just not enough for me. There was a bit involving the contemplation of good, evil, religion, and lack of faith, and though I really liked these parts of the book, I still feel that the inner workings of the boy's mind were glossed over.The book tends to focus on sensationalistic violence. There is zero dialogue, something I did not notice at first but bothered me once I did. I did love how the author worked in the superstitious and local beliefs, especially concerning Gypsies and traditional remedies. The book felt as more of a manual, full of instructions on how-to-become-a-successful-witch-by-casting-curses-while-traveling-through-the-Polish-countryside. I also immensely enjoyed the Red Army scenes. All of the historical aspects of the book were quite entertaining.Learning about the author has also been interesting. He was accused of plagiarism, which always sparks my interest for some odd reason, and he was not a favorite of the critics, which endears him to me more than not. He seemed to be an immensely intelligent man and his suicide the fodder of cult followings. I agree with other reviews mentioning the lack of sophistication of the writing in The Painted Bird, largely due to the predominantly juvenile tone. It was not until the last few pages that I realized the author meant to do this, maybe an attempt to allow readers to better connect with the main character. I really do not care if this is the case, as it did not work, and I read the entire book wondering why the writing felt overly simple. Realizing at the end that it was intentional and that I am too simple to pick up on the fact does not improve my feelings for the book. These types of story qualities should be effortless and conveyed seemlessly, without the reader even noticing. I want to become lost in my books, not Miss Analytical.When I enter the stage of making excuses for a book, of trying to explain the whys with many what-ifs and/or probablies, then it tends to reflect an unsatisfied overall feeling. A seemless and stellar read means that I become so very lost that I do not notice anything about the book, nothing at all, except for what it makes me feel. A book about the things I've already mentioned should have me sobbing. I generally do not read Holocaust books as I can not tolerate the imagery but I did not develop enough of a connection to warrant massive reactions with this book. There was one scene that nearly did me in but it was not about the main character. It was about another boy. I set the book aside for nearly a week after this scene but once I returned, I wanted the entire thing to end. Even after all of my comments, I will still probably read more by this author. I have heard that his voice changes rather dramatically from book to book, so maybe a second attempt is worth my time.

  • Teresa Proença
    2019-05-13 21:33

    Ler, para mim, é como viver uma vida paralela sendo os livros as pessoas que caminham ao meu lado nessa vida.E, tal como as pessoas, há livros que passam por mim e nem levemente me tocam, outros ficam comigo para sempre. Por norma, ficam aqueles que me proporcionaram um convívio mais prazeiroso, mas há outros, que de tão especiais e únicos, também ficam, apesar de me terem destroçado o coração. “O Pássaro Pintado” é um livro único, pungente, cuja leitura me torturou mas que nunca esquecerei. Um livro que fala do ser humano e das suas perversidades. Um livro que fala de inocência e de sobrevivência.Relata a história de um menino de seis anos cujos pais, para o salvarem da guerra, o enviam para uma aldeia polaca, onde ele terá de sobreviver num meio onde impera o preconceito, a superstição e a igorância e onde viverá situações de verdadeiro horror. “Os alemães intrigam-me. Valerá a pena dominar um mundo tão miserável e cruel?"Este é o melhor livro que já li sobre a segunda guerra mundial e recomendo a todos, com a ressalva de que é um livro muito doloroso e violento.

  • Jack Tripper
    2019-05-08 22:25

    Here's the cover of the 1970 Pocket mass-market I just picked up (213 pages). Though I'll have to wait til I'm in the mood for something soul-shatteringly depressing. Or so I hear.

  • João Carlos
    2019-04-28 15:41

    6 Estrelas Pintadas - "The Painted Bird" - Book Opening by Bob“I am going to put myself to sleep now for a bit longer than usual. Call it Eternity.” – esta é a frase da nota de suicídio de Jerzy Kosinski (1933-1991), encontrado morto a 3 de Maio de 1991, na sua casa de Manhattan, nos Estados Unidos da América, depois de ter ingerido uma quantidade letal de comprimidos e álcool e ter envolvido um saco plástico em volta da sua cabeça.Com a publicação do controverso “Pássaro Pintado” em 1965, Jerzy Kosinski sofreu inúmeras acusações; do sentimento anti-polaco, sendo a Polónia o seu país natal, de plágio, uma vez que não era fluente em inglês, de inúmeras falsidades, incluindo a questão autobiográfica da personagem principal e da sua autenticidade, como o próprio apregoava, e por consequência de se enquadrar o livro, pura e simplesmente, numa obra de ficção. Na minha opinião as múltiplas questões, directamente ou indirectamente, relacionadas com o escritor Jerzy Konsinski e com o livro “O Pássaro Pintado” são irrelevantes face à dimensão da história ou das histórias narradas.Como é que uma obra literária de ficção – ou não (?) – se consegue enquadrar com relatos e sequências tão chocantes como (contém descrições, eventualmente, chocantes e alguns “spoilers” irrelevantes no contexto integral do livro): o moleiro que arranca os olhos do seu ajudante, “suposto” amante da sua mulher com uma colher; o Lekh que pinta os pássaros, com tintas fétidas, libertando-os em seguida, para sofrerem ataques ferozes e mortais de outros pássaros; a Ewka, “namorada” do rapaz/menino, que o inicia na sua vida sexual, e que faz sexo com um bode; e tem relações incestuosas com o irmão e o pai; a violação de uma criança de cinco anos pelos “Kalmuks”; espancamentos e torturas com um excesso e um dramatismo angustiante, violações atrozes e sistemáticas a mulheres de todas as idades; os horrores perpetrados durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial contra os judeus; pactos com o Diabo e o Demónio; os fanatismos e as crenças religiosas; e homens e mulheres que vivem e sobrevivem em lugares hediondos e execráveis; e muito mais, num caldeirão literário fumegante, misturado e repleto de ambiguidade e de desprezo, pela vida humana e pelos valores sociais, que se revelam absolutamente supérfluos.“O Pássaro Pintado” tem vinte capítulos, que se iniciam no Outono de 1939, algures numa zona remota da Polónia e na proximidade da fronteira com a Rússia, durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, e que nos relata a vida de um pequeno rapaz/menino, de olhos e cabelo pretos, a ser entregue pelos pais judeus para o salvar a uma morte anunciada. Em quase todos os capítulos de “O Pássaro Pintado” existem personagens que “acolhem” o rapaz/menino, alguns com nome, como a Marta, a Olga, o Lekh, e mais para o final, o Garbos, o Makar e a Labina, mas muitos outros identificados apenas pela sua profissão, o moleiro, o carpinteiro, o camponês, o gigante lavrador, o padre e o agricultor, o lavrador, e muitos outros que num determinado período e contexto lhe dão abrigo, em relacionamentos complexos, moldados pelas superstições e pela blasfémia, pela bruxaria e pelas curandeiras e curandeiros, da fé católica e das orações, por torturas e espancamentos inexplicáveis, pelo ódio e pela vingança sistemática, decorrentes da sua cor dos olhos, cabelo e tez da pele. O bastardo cigano está absolutamente sozinho e desamparado, vai sobrevivendo ora em pequenas aldeias ora nas florestas fantasmagóricas e medonhas, repletas de sombras e escuridão. No final de “O Pássaro Pintado” o círculo fecha-se, o rapaz/menino, já com doze anos, e uma vez terminada a guerra, e no contacto com Gavrila, e com o Exército Vermelho, no período estalinista, tenta encontrar um novo sentido para sua vida, fruto de um envelhecimento precoce e da perda da inocência. Este é um livro de emoções e de violência sem limites, assente na crueldade e na maldade humana, mas com uma escrita dominada por sensações extremas.Jerzy Kosinski (1933-1991)

  • Zoeytron
    2019-05-25 14:45

    It was clear from the beginning this story was not going to be on the light side, and being a reader who typically tends toward darker material, that did not deter me in any way from launching into this book. Not even sure from whence it came, but it has been languishing in one of our bookcases for years. I almost wish I had left it there, unread. At my age, I am well aware of the inequities of life. The atrocities seen by and committed to the little boy in the book are almost continual, before it was over he was rendered mute. His only means of defense was to do his best not to be noticed. It was rarely successful. As I read page after page of beatings, torture, bestiality, rape, and murder I found myself almost becoming inured to whatever horror was going to come up next. I did find the superstitions of the Slavic peasants to be fascinating, but I would think long and hard before recommending this book.

  • Hadrian
    2019-05-15 22:27

    I have no idea what the hell to make of this.A catalog of horrors, unflinching, hammering them into your skull. The main character is totally broken. You yourself almost become disillusioned, and almost used to violence and shit and horror. A frightening book.

  • Tânia Tanocas
    2019-05-11 22:33

    Apesar de ser um livro envolvido em certas polémicas, eu adorei esta visão da II Guerra Mundial. Se é inspirado em factos reais ou não, talvez nunca saberemos, mas será que isso é tão importante na literatura? Verdade ou mentira eis a questão... Mas independentemente dos factos referidos, certamente que terá sido uma realidade para muitas pessoas, de uma forma ou de outra, isso não tenho dúvidas nenhumas. Opinião completa aqui:

  • David M
    2019-05-07 15:36

    Speaking of Pasolini's Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (the most horrible movie ever made, by a considerable margin: just 100 minutes of children being tortured and raped), Italo Calvino wrote, “the idea of situating Sade’s novel in the times and places of the Nazi-Fascistic republic seems the worst possible one from all points of view. The horror of that past that is in the memory of so many who lived it cannot serve as background to a symbolic and imaginary horror constantly outside the [realm] of the probable.”I think the same problem applies to the Painted Bird. This book isn't technically an adaptation of Sade, but clearly belongs to the subgenre of Sadean pornography. The protagonist is basically Justine as a prepubescent boy, able to endure endless cruelty and mutilation with no apparent alteration to his physical or psychological integrity. For years the book's authenticity was a matter of debate, but it's hard to believe anyone ever took this seriously as a literal description of wartime Poland. (For the record: Kosinski survived the war in relative comfort, sheltered by brave and compassionate Polish peasants who would have all been shot if the Nazis discovered what they were doing.) What purpose could it possibly serve to take a historical situation that was so terrible it can't be exaggerated and then make it the scene of cartoonish, implausible horrors?Luckily, the Painted Bird is a book, not a movie, and a book written in a fairly bland style, so unlike Salo its horrors are pretty easily forgotten.

  • Leigh
    2019-05-21 21:28

    One of the most difficult books I've ever read. There's been a lot of furor over the autobiographical "truth" of this novel, and even over the identity of its author, but it certainly feels like an aesthetically true piece of writing. It's morbidly grotesque, unremittingly malevolent, and emotionally deadening in its litany of atrocities: narrator enters town, narrator is abused, narrator leaves town, over and over again. In no way an enjoyable read, and surprising only in the creativity of its cruelty.(Note of interest: reputedly, Kosinski was supposed to be at Roman Polanski's house on the night in 1969 when the Manson Family murdered five people there. He missed it thanks to a baggage delay at the airport.)

  • Greta
    2019-04-30 21:22

    From some reviews:A white hot blast of hatredA shitstormA macabre fairy-taleToo heavy to bearA catalog of horrorsRubberneckingA sadean pornographyThanks but no thanks

  • Perihan
    2019-05-24 14:23

    "Mağlup edilemeyen bir içgüdüyle benzerlerine koşan Lekh'in boyalı kuşu gibiydim." (Sayfa 233, e Yayınları)Kitap gerçekten de çok sarsıcıydı!Savaş döneminde yaşanan insanlık dışı haller, birbiri ardına yaşanan, aşırı şiddet içeren ve uygunsuz içerik taşıyan olaylar...Bence bu kitap içeriği sebebiyle okunması ruha ve yüreğe ağırlık veren en ağır kitaplardan...Anlatım dili çok akıcı ama anlatılanlar iç açıcı değil:(Kitabın adı olan boyalı kuşun öyküsü ise bence oldukça vurucuydu!Şöyle ki,kitabın ana karakteri olan Yahudi küçük çocuk, savaş zamanı öldürülür korkusuyla , annesi ve babası tarafından bir adama emanet edilir. O da çocuğu yaşlı bir kadına verir.Çocuk kadının ölümünden sonra köy köy gezerek hayatta kalmaya çalışır. Başına ise olmadık şeyler gelir:(Bu tutunma hikayelerinin birinde, Lekh adında birinin yanına sığınır. Lekh ormanda en güzel kuşları yakalayıp, bunları köylülerle takas ederek yaşayan yalnız bir adamdır. Ludmilla ise köylüler tarafından hor görülmüş bir kadındır ve Lekh'in sevgilisidir. Bazen bu iki sevgili buluşurlar. Bazen günler geçer, Ludmilla görünmez. O zaman büyük bir kızgınlık, gizliden gizliye kemirir Lekh'in içini.Bu kızgınlık içinde, adam en alımlı kuşlardan birini seçer, onun her yanını rengârenk boyar. Çocuktan ormanda, kuşu ayaklarından tutarak sallamasını ister... Lekh ise boyalı kuşun bağrışına gelen kuş sürüsünün toplanmasını bekler. Sonra o boyalı kuşu da , gelen sürünün içine bırakır.Boyalı Kuş, özgür olduğunu sanıp, katılır sürüye. Sürüdekiler ise kendilerinden biri olmadığını düşündükleri BOYALI KUŞA gagalarıyla saldırırlar ; garip boyalı kuş kanlar içinde yere düşer...İşte bu hikayedeki zavallı çocuk da ,tıpkı Boyalı Kuş gibi farklı olmanın bedelini çok ama çok ağır ödemektedir:(Ve son olarak yazarın kitabı hakkındaki yıllar sonraki sözleri:"Bugün Boyalı Kuş’un yaratılmasından yıllar sonra onun varlığı için kararsız duygular hissetmekteyim. Geçen son on yıl, romana benim de eleştirel bir gözle bakmama olanak verdi, ama kitabın etrafında koparılan fırtına ve benim kendi hayatımda ve bana yakın olanların hayatında yaptığı değişiklikler, kitabı yazmaya ilk karar verişimi sorgulattı doğrusu.
Ben kitabı yazdığımda kendine göre bir tarzı olacağını düşünüyordum ve edebi bir başarının yanı sıra bana yakın insanların hayatlarına yönelik bir tehlike olacağını asla düşünmemiştim. Anavatanımdaki yöneticiler için kitap, aynı yakalanıp boyanan kuşa olduğu gibi sürüden çıkartılıp atılan bir unsur oldu. Kuşu yakaladım, tüylerini boyadım ve serbest bıraktım ama yapabildiğim sadece orada durup kuşun felaketini seyretmek oldu. Eğer olabilecekleri daha önceden görseydim, Boyalı Kuş’u asla yazmazdım. Ama kitap da aynı kahramanı küçük çocuk gibi saldırılara göğüs gerdi. Hayatta kalma güdüsü zincirleri koparıp geçti, insanların hayal güçleri de çocuğunkinden daha fazla tutsak kalabilir mi?"1976 Jerzy Kozinski

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-05-18 22:34

    Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of warThe Painted Bird is pitilessly graphic and graphically merciless…“One day, when the pigeon was trying as usual to consort with the hens and chicks, a small black shape broke away from the clouds. The hens ran screaming toward the barn and the chicken coop. The black ball fell like a stone on the flock. Only the pigeon had no place to hide. Before he even had time to spread his wings, a powerful bird with a sharp hooked beak pinned him to the ground and struck at him. The pigeon’s feathers were speckled with blood. Marta came running out of the hut, brandishing a stick, but the hawk flew off smoothly, carrying in its beak the limp body of the pigeon.”A waiflike boy is a stranger in a strange land – if a little bird has a different feather no other birds will flock with it…

  • Jessica
    2019-05-12 15:48

    I read this book as a young person (aged 13 or 14?), having appropriated it from my father's bookshelves. I remember being truly terrified by Kosinski's story, and it was I think the first time I had to close a book because I simply could not face reading any more. Eventually I did finish it, I think I forced myself. Years later I would learn of Kosinski's suicide (bag over head in a bathtub) and I believe there had been accusations of plagiarism-- or was it that it was fiction being passed off as memoir?In any case, I thought back to the terrors of this book, and it did not surprise me that the teller of such tales would take his own life.